Yesterday Alice and I spent the morning hiding out from Alice's cousin, MarshaMarshaMarsha. She was in town with her son, Ichabod, who was competing in a dominoes competition and wanted us to come watch. Yes, you read that right, MarshaMarshaMarsha expected her grown cousin to sit in a ballroom that did not have air conditioning and watch her kid play...dominoes.
"This is the same cousin who claimed her kid read "Moby Dick" at the ripe old age of eight?"
"Yep!" Alice shook her head and folded yet another Official Licensed Disney Tee.
Alice plopped the stack of shirts into her basket, "That's her."
"Of course you told her no."
"No, I didn't."
"It doesn't do any good. She's incapable of taking no for an answer. She's the Borg."
"The Borg?" I asked.
"Never mind. Just know that you have officially lost about fifty geek points. Anyway, I figure if we lay low for the first half of the day, they'll breeze by us and we can get on with our lives."
"That's ridiculous!" I snapped. "Tell me you don't think that's just nuts."
"Look, I'm kind of pissed about the whole thing, but what can you do?"
"Nothing, I guess. Family is family. I'm sorry. I have no room to talk because I have cousins who I avoid at all costs because they're okay for about five minutes and then they start shooting poison from their tear ducts."
She nodded and then we sat in silence as Jamie Oliver nattered on the tube about rice pudding and strawberries.
She folded a little Tow Mater tee and watched the screen. "You know, if we're going to be bunkered in, we might as well enjoy it. Let's go pick some strawberries before the kids get up. Jeffrey said it was about time for another batch."
"That's the spirit!" I hopped up. "Siege mentality be damned!"
We grabbed some Suckerware from the kitchen and headed out back. I was happy for the sunshine. Alice was still very quiet, which was unusual for her.
"Are you mad at me?" I asked.
"Aw sweetie. No. I'm mad at MarshaMarshaMarsha and I'm mad at myself. Would you mind turning on the hose? I'm a grown woman and I still let myself get talked into these corners. There's no sense in it."
I walked over and turned on the hose. Alice had her back to me and the front gate. She was still talking, getting a little madder and a little louder as she talked.
"And you know?" she said. "This is the way it's been for years. Damn! Some of these berries are overripe. I should have come out here sooner. Where was I? Jas, I can't believe I've let this go on for so long. MarshaMarshaMarsha is an overbearing, madly in love with herself twit!"
Alice picked up a large, gooey berry and lobbed it at one of the trees.
"She's noxious. She bullies everybody and I! Am! Sick of it!" She turned and rifled a berry at her son's archery target.
It was about then that I heard someone a few feet behind me and to my right softly say, "Excuse me?". But for some reason, seeing Alice lose her composure was riveting and I didn't register that someone else had joined us.
"And... And... Jas? I am so DAMNED tired of that odious, surly, rude little goblin child of hers. She needs to put him back under the bridge where she found him!"
At that point, she turned and flung a huge, nearly gellied berry, presumably at the wooden front gate. Aaaand... She nailed Ichabod squarely in the chest with it a half second before I turned, yelped and soaked Ichabod and MarshaMarshaMarsha with the hose.
We stood in stunned silence for a moment as Jeffery walked out on the patio, scratched his tuchis through his boxers and asked us what in the Holy Name of Jerry Rice we were doing making this much noise at this ungodly hour.
"You're naked!" MarshaMarshaMarsha screamed at Jeffery.
"Marsh, you really need to consider wearing a bra." I said.
She gave us all what I figure was her best attempt at a death glare, whirled Ichabod around by his birdy, underfed shoulders and strode to the gate. She turned and pointed at Alice, "I'm! Telling! GRANDMA!" she huffed at her and then went out, slamming the gate after her and her little changling.
We stood there for a moment, stunned. Then Alice poked a hole in a bigger berry, stuck it on her nose and danced around, singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!"
"You're both nuts," muttered Jeffrey. "I'm making everyone French Toast. No one come into the kitchen while the grownup is busy."
So we didn't.
copyright 2008 Jas Faulkner